Art-deco styling, the golden age of film, captivating jazz – borrow the elegance of the Roaring 20s for a glamourous day of your own in one of these illustrious venues
Words: Hollie Bond Photos: Ben Turner
Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
Few venues evoke interwar style quite like this hotel – a perfectly preserved art-deco icon on its own private tidal island. If black tie and a jazz-band after-party are your bag, go here to say ‘I do’. In the 1930s it was the place to be seen, with the likes of Winston Churchill and Noel Coward sipping cocktails and dining in its ballroom. Today, this space is an ideal setting into which to welcome your own wedding-day VIPs. Agatha Christie put Burgh Island on the map, setting two novels there. Her most famous character, Poirot, has since returned to film scenes for Evil Under the Sun on the beach – which could be a glorious backdrop for your couple shots.
tel 01548 810514
Eltham Palace, Greenwich
The capital’s art-deco gems include Eltham Palace
, which serves up an unusual historical concoction: a medieval Great Hall attached to an outstanding 1930s mansion. The interiors exude interwar elegance, including a circular, wood-panelled entrance hall, where most ceremonies take place. We can see why: brides make their way to the aisle in true silver-screen style via a curved staircase, before exchanging vows beneath a glass-domed ceiling. You may recognise the space as the studio in which Elizabeth II meets fashion designer Norman Hartnell in The Crown
. Well, if it’s good enough for Her Majesty…
tel 020 8294 2577
Dartmouth House, Mayfair
In one of London’s smartest postcodes, Dartmouth House is a suitably chic property. It offers a rare facility for such a central location: an elegant enclosed courtyard, which is, of course, just the space for an alfresco drinks reception. Georgian on the outside, early 20th century on the inside, the whole place has plenty of special features to give your day that period appeal. Among them are a sweeping marble staircase and light-filled Long Drawing Room. This stately venue has had its share of star turns too – scenes from both Mr Selfridge and Sherlock have been shot in its grand rooms.
tel 020 7529 1554
Brympton House, Somerset
Here’s another 20s-style space hidden inside a much older exterior. On first impression, Brympton House looks like a rather fine medieval manor house, but step inside and you’ll discover an elegant, clean-lined backdrop. It’s ready-made for an art-deco or vintage theme. One wall of the ballroom is almost entirely taken over by an arts-and-crafts dresser full of antique crockery, while the slightly smaller Salon connects to a reception-ready Library Bar. There’s even a Cake Room, just crying out for a dessert table – quite apt, considering Johnny Depp shot scenes for Chocolat here.
tel 01935 862528
+ Historian, TV presenter and chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley is just the person to ask about the most memorable weddings of the era. This is what she has to say about biggest celebrations: ‘After abdicating in the name of love, Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson in the south of France. His bride looked very elegant in pale blue. The decade before, the Queen Mother had had a very flapper-ish wedding.’
+ Before WWII only 10% of engagement rings contained diamonds. Today, we love a bit of bling and that number’s risen to 80%. We have De Beers to thank for that: its ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ ad campaign kicked it all off in the late 40s.
Fancy something from a different time in history? Click below to step back in time on your big day and star in your own period drama.
This article was first published in SquareMeal Weddings 2017